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Accession of Ukraine to the European Union: media monitoring for February 2024

In February, Ukrainian journalists covered the topic of Ukraine’s accession to the EU relatively infrequently, mostly writing about the financial assistance provided to Ukraine under the Ukrainian Facility program and monitored news and statements regarding the next technical stages of the accession negotiations.

Media coverage of Ukraine’s accession to the European Union

The media actively covered the adoption of an additional package of support for Ukraine (the Ukraine Facility), which was approved by the European Council on February 1 and the EU Council on February 28. In particular, they described the conditions for receiving aid and noted about the reporting procedure by Ukraine. For example, the essence of the program was described in the headlines as “money in exchange for reforms.” Some media outlets also quoted Oleksandr Korniyenko, the Deputy Speaker of the Parliament of Ukraine, who emphasised that public administration reform was an important component of the Ukraine Facility launch plan. Considerable attention was also paid to the negotiations between EU representatives and Viktor Orbán, which resulted in the lifting of Hungary’s months-long blocking of the program.

From February 16-18, the Munich Security Conference took place. Ukrainian journalists highlighted that the conference discussed various topics, including the EU’s military assistance to Ukraine, the allocation of financial aid to Ukraine, and the future of EU enlargement. During the conference, Deputy Prime Minister for European and Euro-Atlantic Integration Olha Stefanishyna advocated for a reduction in the number of decisions made by EU member states to commence negotiations.

Additionally, in February, Ukrainian media frequently reported on the adoption of the 13th package of sanctions against Russia. It was described as one of the most extensive sanctions packages ever approved by the EU.

In February, the media also closely monitored statements from Ukrainian officials regarding forecasts for the upcoming stages of Ukraine’s accession to the EU. This included Denys Shmyhal’s prediction that the government would assemble a team to negotiate EU accession in the first half of the year. President Volodymyr Zelensky’s statement was also cited, expressing his anticipation to initiate negotiations on joining the European Union by June 2024.

Additionally, Ukrainian journalists disseminated a statement by European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, who forecasted that the European Commission would present a negotiating framework for EU accession talks with Ukraine by mid-March.

Draft laws

In February 2024, the Parliament adopted a total of three draft laws associated with European integration.

The adoption of the law “On Fair Lobbying” (No. 10337) was a part of the implementation of the European Council’s final recommendations for the opening of negotiations on Ukraine’s accession to the EU. As we wrote earlier, after the first reading, civil society organisations argued that the current text of the draft law “harms democracy and freedom of speech” and called for amendments. Some media noted that the changes to the law that the public had insisted on were only partially implemented. The Parliament did not completely exclude the activities of civic organisations from the law. Instead, the new version of the law states that CSOs are not considered lobbyists “unless such activities relate to commercial interests.” Journalists also noted that the law will come into force two months after the National Agency on Corruption Prevention’s Transparency Register starts functioning.

Another European integration draft law, on enhancing the corporate governance of legal entities in which the state holds shares (No. 5593-D), was labelled by the media as “one of the crucial conditions for fulfilling European integration obligations.” Its adoption was mandated by a memorandum with the IMF. The EBRD had previously underscored the significance of adopting the law. Journalists noted that the drafting and debate surrounding the draft law spanned nine years. They also highlighted that its preparation for the second reading had been one of the priorities of the Ministry of Economy over the past year. Journalists also mentioned that international organisations and partners assisted in the preparation of the draft law.

The adoption of the draft law “On State Regulation of Capital Markets” (No. 5865) received limited coverage in the Ukrainian media. Journalists highlighted that the draft law aimed to “enhance the authority of the National Securities Commission” and to prohibit pyramid schemes. They also underscored that the adoption of the draft law was tied to “the fulfilment of the IMF memorandum and the EU plan.”


In February, experts analysed the financial support program – Ukraine Facility Fund. 

Specifically, a group of experts from various think tanks penned an article delineating the terms and characteristics of the financial aid that Ukraine will receive under this program. The authors particularly underscored that the program serves as “a vital financial instrument to support Ukraine,” which “will aid in expediting reforms in pivotal sectors of the economy, enhancing business activity, bolstering economic resilience, and accelerating economic growth.”

Dmytro Livch, co-founder of the Center for Economic Recovery, penned a similar article. Among other points, he stressed that the Ukraine Facility instrument presents significant challenges to Ukraine’s capacity to absorb the allocated funds. To enhance its “absorption capacity,” Ukraine should proactively develop financial, administrative, and institutional capabilities, including reforming its governance structure.

In their article, RBC-Ukraine journalists summarised Ukraine’s journey toward the European Union over the past two years. Among other points, the article highlighted that the primary objective of the European Commission at this juncture is to elucidate the methodology of approximation, particularly by establishing comprehensive criteria for Ukraine’s fulfilment of the necessary parameters. The author also described the methodical adaptation of Ukrainian legislation to European law as “a completely achievable task for the authorities, even amidst the current circumstances.”

In his text, Leonid Litra, an analyst at the New Europe Center, argued that the EU enlargement methodology needs refinement, particularly concerning the requirement of unanimity among EU member states to adopt even minor stages of the accession process. Litra contends that allowing one country to block the accession process based on unrelated bilateral claims undermines the merit-based approach, transforming it into a realm of “political arrangements and diplomatic manoeuvring.” Among the author’s suggestions: introducing European Council votes solely at crucial stages, employing the qualified majority system, and opening new chapters based on European Commission reports.